I am writing this Sunday, October 19, 2008, as we sail away from Laem Chabang Port, the port for Bangkok, Thailand. Yesterday Susy and I saw one of the most impressive Palaces we have ever viewed in our lives. For that reason alone I’m going to split the day into two parts because ten photos will not begin to tell the story of the “The Grand Palace” of Bangkok. This Blog, Part 1, will deal with the bus tour we took to Bangkok, except the Grand Palace and Part 2 (a second Blog) will cover the Grand Palace only.
Before we begin the photo album above which is titled “Bangkok, Laem Chabang Port, Thailand – Day 1, Part 1 – Bus Tour”, let’s look at the city of Bangkok and Thailand. Bangkok has a population of 10 million, while Thailand has 65 million people, 95% Buddhist. The city is laid out on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and at one time was compared with Venice because of its network of canals. Today most of the canals have been paved over to accommodate urban growth.
The port of Laem Chabang (1st photo above) is located 2 hours south of Bangkok by bus on the Gulf of Thailand. It is Thailand’s principal port and a major seaside resort area as I will cover in Day 2 of our stay in this port. On the way to Bangkok, I wanted to show you some of the poor area, first shacks (photo 2) and then apartments (photo 3). I will say this however, if Vietnam was poor, this country seems to be much better off solely from a measure of the number of vehicles on the roads, and the wide, fast, highways that got us back and forth to Bangkok. We saw hardly any scooters until the factories let out late in the afternoon. They do have scooters, however, and my fourth photo shows a scooter taxi, although the majority of taxis were full size sedans. Upon arriving in Bangkok we motored through the “Chinatown” district, including a long street of gold outlets like the one (5th photo) shown in the next photo. Our first stop was a flower market where we walked down the street for blocks with the flower stalls on both sides and vendors (mostly ladies) making flower (mostly Jasmine) bracelets which the Thais take to the Buddha temples and give to the Gods as a gift. My 6th photo is shot looking down the market street and the 7th is of one of the more colorful stalls. Finally, I wanted to show a photo of Susy in the market just to show that she’s still as bright as ever and enjoying the sites, and in this market, the very rich smells of the lovely flowers. We got in the bus and again headed out through the city streets going from one district of stores into another. My next photo out of the window of the bus is a Buddha statue shop. We were passing through a district of nothing but Buddha statue factories each with its shop on the main street, the factory and home of the owner and sometimes the workers, behind the shop. The 10th and normally the last photo is of a bridge over a canal with market stalls on each side which led to a street which the Guide said had up to a thousand stalls. The Guide said in the district we were passing through there was over 25,000 stalls. You wouldn’t believe it unless you where there. Who buys from all these stalls which are open 7 days a week, 16 hours a day, was a mystery to us.
The rest of the day we had lunch in a very nice hotel (there were so many ship people they had us eating in the Lobby), toured the Grand Palace (which you will see in the next Blog) and on the way home stopped for (you guessed it) shopping. The shopping gallery we stopped at specialized in jewelry, so I’ll show you a photo of the craftsmen at work. I couldn’t take pictures in the showroom, but it was just showcase after showcase of diamonds, emeralds, rubies, etc… My last photo (12th) is of the Bangkok skyline on the way home. The skyline was not very impressive because the city is so spread out.
Next the “Grand Palace”,
Love you All,